clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Talking Points: Should Sunderland ditch 3 at the back AND play Wyke & McNulty together up top?

New, comments

Now that the dust has settled on Sunderland’s win at Accrington last night we’re mulling over the key Talking Points from the game - is it time to scrap three at the back, and should we play McNulty & Wyke together on Saturday?

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Time to ditch three at the back?

Jack Ross reverted to a back four last night and Sunderland appeared far more comfortable than they had done in our opening two games.

Luke O’Nien was steady at right back and supported Chris Maguire well in front of him, whilst Jordan Willis was rarely beaten all evening and didn’t look as troubled as he had done in the games against Oxford United and Ipswich Town.

I may have been a little harsh on Alim Ozturk last night with my players ratings. After a good night’s sleep (well, five hours) I’ve had time to reflect on the game and think back about his performance again. He swept up any on-coming danger with consummate ease and he was maybe better than I gave him credit for. Conor McLaughlin did look awkward at left-back and gave away a penalty, but all-in-all Jack Ross’ team looked far more comfortable.

Whilst Denver Hume has been extremely poor in the opening few weeks as a wing back, he performed well at left-back last season when called upon, so with Hume expected to be fit for Saturday afternoon’s game against Portsmouth you have to hope Ross with go with a similar shape in defence.

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Play Wyke & McNulty up top?

Another game, another goal shy performance from our £3m man Will Grigg.

There’s an argument - and a good one - that since Grigg has joined the Lads, our service to him has been woeful, or that quite simply we don’t play to his strengths. Whatever your thoughts are on the matter, I think that it’s fair to suggest that with each passing game it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stick up for the Northern Ireland international.

You could debate the “lack of service” argument has become null and void when you look at the amount of chances Marc McNulty is creating for himself through sheer hard work and determination.

The performance of McNulty was, again, thoroughly impressive and, in turn, so was Charlie Wyke’s cameo. With Wyke and McNulty, Sunderland had a marked improvement in our attacking play. We looked far more dynamic and - perhaps most importantly - dangerous every time we went forward.

Whilst playing with two up front has its detractors, Charlie Wyke and Marc McNulty showed us glimpses of the beginning of a decent partnership last night.

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Aiden McGeady is back!

The best player in League One is back, and my spidey senses tell me this is going to get f***ing tasty, baby!

It feels like the Irishman has been playing at only 50% for the last couple of months as we nursed him through injury, and we have been desperate to see him back at full fitness.

Thankfully, when he intercepted that ball in the centre of the Accrington Stanley midfield last night and subsequently bamboozled three or four of their defenders before smashing home into the bottom corner, you just knew that he was back to his devastating best.

Do we rely on him too much? Perhaps, but the truth is having a fully fit and hungry Aiden McGeady is a huge advantage to Jack Ross and could be the difference maker to our season, starting with Saturday’s game against Portsmouth.

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland AFC - Carabao Cup First Round Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images